PR Campaigns – The blog

April 13, 2009

Congrats You’re Graduating! Now What?

Filed under: Step Up Communications — Mickey Siegel @ 11:24 pm
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To all of the PR students graduating this semester and to those past graduates, congratulations. This is a time to celebrate that you will never have to write another term paper again or take another mid-term exam (except for you grad school overachievers). For the rest of us, we now have to get our lives in order and start on the 2nd act in our lives (the 1st act being childhood and the 3rd act being retirement/senility/adult diapers).  In this 2nd act, we must now become dependent on ourselves to provide food and shelter. I know it sounds like a daunting task, but do not fret because it is much easier than it sounds to cook something other than a hot pocket.

Katherine Strate is a soon to be PR graduate from the University of Georgia and she collected Five Pieces of Advice that should help make it a little easier to transition from a student to a PR professional. Strate writes about many matters plaguing graduates, but her most important point focuses on being proactive in job hunting and while at the first job/internship.

At PR Channel, a site that features thousands of agency listings, the site solicited comments from many of its agencies concerning Advice for the PR Grad. The most interesting comment that I found involved the use of social media in finding a PR job. Here is what Heather Huhman, founder of entrylevel-pr.com had to say:

sign up for Twitter, start following thought leaders in public relations (specifically, the area of public relations that interests you most, such as health care), and get engaged via the various PR hashtags: #PRadvice for asking pros questions, #EntryPR for entry-level jobs and #PRintern for internships.

This is great advice and I can attest to twitter being a valuable tool for networking purposes. I met up with Brian Stelter, current NY Times columnist and creator of TVNewser, through him asking on twitter if there were any ASU Cronkite students that tweeted. I naturally responded and ended up having a lunch interview with him and other Cronkite students. It just goes to show that Twitter and other social media sites have a profound effect on marketing, and in an economy where employers are looking to hire 22% less jobs than last year, it is important to get as many legs up as possible.

Before going, I want to leave everyone with a youtube video of a British PR/Marketing professional giving some advice on how to best deal with finding a job in this economy. Besides us having a better army than the Brits, we are pretty similar in most everything else:

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April 12, 2009

Can Journalism and Social Media Coexist?

Since I have been at the Cronkite school, I can’t help but feel like I don’t belong in the j-school. Some say that public relations has no place in journalism. However, I came across a new site that says news, social media and advertising can all coexist. True/Slant’s moto is “News is more than what happens.” True/Slant is a company that combines news, social media and advertising.

True/Slant allows contributers to add stories to their site, and then consumers can create dialogue with those contributers. Advertising also occurs on the site. However, it is placed in such a way that is very transparent and readers know what they are getting. True/Slant says their goal is to get consumers to be just as interested as they are in the news.

I am interested to see if a site like this actually makes it. I have been told that journalism, advertising and PR are completely separate and that PR doesn’t belong in journalism. However, I think that the direction we are headed is very different. I see a future where all three of these entities coexist and work together.

What do you think? Do you think that social media has a place in journalism? Can advertising, journalism and PR coexist?

April 6, 2009

Blending social media and CSR

Filed under: Spirals — Patty Lepkowski @ 10:55 pm
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I have to be honest, I normally skip over any blog that even mentions Twitter, as I feel it has become an over-talked about topic recently. However, when the blog titled Social Media Provides the Tools to Make Positive Change popped up on my Google Reader last week, I had to take note.

The blog posted on the Communications Overtones blog page discusses how Michelle Greer, a web marketing strategist and blogger from Austin, recently won a social media award for a Twestival she organized to coordinate blood drives for Burmese refugees.

Although the blog never directly mentions anything public relations-related, I was immediately drawn to this topic as a potential tactic for a corporate social responsibly campaign (CSR), a campaign through which companies participate in activities related to public interests, while improving the company image. Corporations are constantly looking for ways to form mutually beneficial relationships with their communities, and what better way than through everyone’s new favorite medium – the Internet.

Using social media to power a CSR campaign is a strategically sound decision for a number of reasons. For one, social media is a quick and effective way for organizations to reach their publics. Currently, many companies discuss their CSR efforts on the company blog, but why not take that a step further and use the social media Web site as a platform for the campaign, rather than just a medium to discuss it? Also, social media Web sites are effective because they allow public relations professionals to disseminate controlled information that will reach target publics, those that are already loyal readers of the company’s blogs.

In my opinion, companies have a lot to gain by conducting CSR campaigns on social media Web sites. However, some may believe that social media Web sites would not be appropriate for some CSR efforts. What is your opinion? Do you think social media and CSR are mutually exclusive topics or that we can find a way to blend the two, so as to create communications results? If you disagree with using social media for CSR, what do you think is the best way for companies to conduct and report on CSR efforts?

“If everything seems under control, you’re just not going fast enough.”

Filed under: Mission Public Relations — kbergeron44 @ 7:17 pm
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Social media is the new popular kid at school.  The one whose dad just got a big promotion prompting his family to move in a couple houses down.  He has the coolest bike, the newest video games, the nicest clothes and a trampoline! All the girls love him and all the guys want to hang out with him.  Except brands.

When it comes to the world of social media, brands are the cool kids who have been dethroned by the new kid at school.  They used to run the show through means of traditional marketing and brand management, but have lost the spotlight to the internet and social media.

In his post, “A Control Freak’s Guide to Social Media Influence,” found on Mashable, Paul Worthington talks about the inability for brands to fully utilize social media as a means of influence because they are unable to relinquish their illusion of control.

Worthington explains that brands have always sought to control the thoughts of the perspective audiences when the key has always been influence.  This false belief is what has a lot of branding managers jealous of the new kid on the block and reluctant to embrace social media.

In these new times where social media is reigning supreme in the world of online influence, brands need to change their strategy and give up the ideal of control.  Worthington tries to help them by providing three principles that good influencers demonstrate:

1. Listen then respond– “Before engaging with the conversation it’s important to first listen to it, see what is being said and interpret what this means.”

2. Be comfortable with ambiguity– “Conversation is messy, real time, and often capricious. At first what you see will appear chaotic, unmanageable and intimidating. The reality is that it isn’t your job to manage or control it – but to respond to it.”

3. Filter through your purpose– ” Here, having a strong brand purpose is a crucial tool – it becomes the tangible filter through which you listen and respond.”

I think that all companies would be wise to apply these suggestions to any social media influence that they hope to attain.  I am an active user of social media and, to me, it seems like too many brands are trying to use social media for marketing and public relations means, but are doing so ineffectively.  They are too stuck in their old ways to fully embrace the new kid and try out his trampoline.  Times are changing quickly with new social media applications coming out daily and I think for any company to be successful they need to quickly change their attitudes about social media and dive in head first or they will be left behind.

What do you think?  Are brands not applying themselves enough when it comes to social media?  Is this trend going to be around enough for companies to invest a lot of attention into?  What are some successful branding techniques that companies have been using on social media?

March 23, 2009

Social Media & Changing Relationships

Filed under: Mission Public Relations — jejepson @ 10:38 pm
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At the beginning of this semester I realized that a component of just about every single one of my classes was going to be social media. It was not until recently that I have begun to realize the impact that Web 2.0 and social media has had not only on me and my education, but on the entire profession of public relations as a whole.

I recently came across a post by Bill Sledzik’s blog ToughSledding about the love-hate relationship that PR pros are facing with social media.  In it he discusses how the public has begun to take social media as the only version and are “unwilling to discuss alternative views and engage those who disagree with them.”

It is this idea that social media is the-be-all-to-end-all, that has me wondering about what other implications social media has had on the PR profession. Sledzik brings up a few good questions about the topic:

  • How will social media affect my clients’ ability to connect with their stakeholders?
  • What new skills and understanding of social media will future PR professionals need to survive?
  • What changes in communication strategy are SM bringing to the practice of public relations?
  • Are the “new influencers” we read about really as influential as some think — and how do we know?
  • How much of the PR’s social media frenzy is “real” and how much is a product of our digital echo chamber?

Although I do agree that social media has benefited public relations greatly, do you think that it has affected it in a negative way?

I believe that social media has made the entire industry less personal contact driven and more application driven. It used to be who could you call and pitch your story to. Now it has become who follows you. I do also think that social media has changed the client/stakeholder relationship, and not for the better. It has become less personal, which in the long run could be very detrimental.

How do you feel about the relationship between social media and the PR profession?

Twitter all you want, but remember people can see you

Filed under: The Fifth Firm — tmpace @ 6:12 pm
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Twitter has really taken this nation by storm. It seems like ever since we learned about this “twitter” in PR class that is all people can talk about.  I find myself browsing people’s tweets constantly finding it entertaining and useful. Twitter is such a great place to market, network and research.

Two of my family members find twitter is creepy, and they are constantly sending me articles about why I should not Twitter.

So I was not surprised when I checked my email this morning and found:

Twitter gets you fired in 140 characters or less.

The email linked me to a MSNBC article written by Helen Popkin that described how one person’s tweet got him fired.

This got me thinking, “How can people be so silly?” Of course your employers are searching the web!

This guy in the article tweeted, “Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work.” Of course the company found the tweet, and was not very happy.

Even though twitter is a great place to express how you feel it also a place where companies can see what you feel.

Then I was reading PR blogs for class, and I found PR Squared’s, a PR group who specializes in social media and marketing, blog posting “Twitter Rule #2 Remember that you are being watched.”

This blog brought up many great points. When we are working for clients, companies, etc. we have to keep in  mind what we post may come back to haunt us.  They discuss how if you are upset do not tweet something you will regret because what if a client sees it and reports it to your boss? Or what if a reporter sees? Do you really want something like that in an article?

Twitter is a fun social network site, but we have to keep in mind we are professionals. We take down our myspace and facebook photos that are not appropriate, and now we need to make sure we only tweet things our future bosses or clients would not be embrassed or angered to read.

March 22, 2009

A PR nightmare for the firm used to resolving everyone else’s

Filed under: Spirals — Patty Lepkowski @ 10:30 pm
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In case you’ve been living in cave for the last two weeks and have missed the myriad of Tweets, blog posts and media articles, let me get you caught up to speed. On March 8, MSNBC commentator, Rachel Maddow, blasted public relations giant, Burson-Marsteller, referring to it as an “evil” company. Ouch.

                     Click here to watch the segment.

The segment discussed a decision by AIG, an insurance and financial services company, to add additional public relations services to mend its bruised reputation. The company is 80% owned by the public after 4 bailouts, and the point of Maddow’s segment was to convey the message that the public shouldn’t be paying for AIG to “shine up” its image to the public. However, it seems she focused more on taking aim on Burson-Marsteller than discussing AIG. She rattled off client after client to represent Burson-Marsteller as an unethical company, referencing among others, the firm’s work with the Bhopal chemical disaster, Philip Morris and even the Saudi Arabian government after the September 11th tragedies. ““When evil needs public relations, evil has Burson-Marsteller on speed dial,” Maddow said.

Yep, it was a pretty rough night for Burson-Marsteller, to say the least. An obvious PR nightmare. It’s a good thing they are already experts on public relations and already know exactly what to do. Or do they?

One of the first lessons we are taught is crisis communications – an area with which Burson-Marsteller is clearly familiar – is that when crisis erupts, organizations need to face the problem head on with transparency and responsiveness. The worst thing a company can do is say nothing at all. Or that’s at least what we advise our clients.

Blogger’s have been discussing the issue since the airing, including Valley PR’s advice about how PR firms should try to balance companies that are regarded highly in terms of ethics, with companies in need of crisis communications. Public Relations College Students also addressed the issue, attacking the event from the viewpoint of the constant clash between journalists and public relations professionals.

You will find the episode debated and alluded to on countless blogs. Just not on Burson-Marsteller’s. All three blogs that Burson-Marsteller maintains on its Web site fail to address Rachel Maddow’s blow. In fact, you will be hard pressed to find formal, written responses coming from Burson-Marsteller, with the exception of a leaked internal memo.

In my opinion, Burson-Marsteller should have addressed the issue immediately to minimize the damage. Sometimes, public relations firms have to remember to take their own advice.

But maybe I’m overreacting. What do you think? Is this really a PR nightmare, or simply one commentator’s opinion that is soon to be forgotten? What do you think Burson-Marsteller should have done/ should do?

March 16, 2009

Wrong moves with social media

Filed under: The Fifth Firm — viancavv @ 11:56 pm
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So I’m a manager at a retail store and recently I received an email that said the company would be discontinuing the weekly newsletters. I was really surprised by this because these newsletters were incredibly informative and always had really useful information about new products and promotions. Corporate said that they would be discontinuing the newsletter because they were trying to establish a better image online; with the new website, as well as facebook and myspace accounts. They want our customers to become familiar with the company by visiting these sites. It seemed like they were pretty optimistic about establishing a new image, however their focus is strictly online. I definitely dont agree with this approach.

Although social media networks and appealing websites are always a plus, I dont think a company should rest its entire message on these outlets alone. I guarantee there are hundreds of people, including myself, who really valued that newsletter. While it’s definitely not as technologically savy as what they seem to be going for, it was still very beneficial. I cant help but wonder how many customers or opinions they will lose with a move like this.  Although many people are hopping on the social media wagons, companies shouldnt take it for granted. I think they should maintain their old tactics while acquiring new ones at the same time…not cancelling one out for the other. Bad move.

March 1, 2009

I Better Learn This Before Someone Steals My Job…

Filed under: Mission Public Relations — kparma @ 11:23 am
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Considering my PR Campaigns class just had a lecture on SEO with Vanessa Fox, I thought this would be fitting.

It seems that more than ever we are hearing that companies need to do everything in their power to get to the top of the Google rankings. With the way the economy is right now, the more visibility a company and higher on Google they can get, the better. The phrase that is being used is search engine optimization or SEO.

I came across a post on the blog Rock Star PR by Jed Hallam about SEO and PR. The post basically summed up a Twitter discussion about whether or not PR practitioners should adopt SEO as part of their jobs since many SEO companies are now offering “online public relations” as part of their services. Hallam suggests that PR practitioners learn the techniques of SEO or else…

I definitely agree with Hallam in the sense that PR better jump on with SEO and learn some of the ins and outs before the SEO companies learn a thing or two about PR. I think what we have that the SEO companies don’t is training, quality and the ability to evolve and adapt.

PR practitioners learn to write and think strategically and ask questions and communicate in ways that many people don’t know how to. That in itself sets us above the SEO companies trying to sell online PR. The quality of content and meat in our writing also sets us apart. Also, PR practitioners have the ability to adapt to changes and pick up new tasks. PR tries to sell visibility with quality, as opposed to SEO companies that are trying to sell visibility and rankings, not necessarily with quality content.

Do you think that PR practitioners should pick up this new skill and get trained on how to optimize their search engine rankings for their clients? If PR doesn’t adapt and accept SEO as part of the practice do you think SEO companies will eventually win out over traditional PR companies?

February 23, 2009

Bringing the PR basics to the digital world

Filed under: Spirals — Patty Lepkowski @ 9:26 pm
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I think it is safe to say that we, as future public relations professionals, are obsessed with social media. With Facebook, Blogger, YouTube – and our new favorite Twitter – it seems social media is PR’s latest buzz word.

It is clear that social media is changing our profession, but is there such a thing as too much social media? Could it be possible that we have become so consumed with employing social media, that we have become lost in the Twitterverse, the Twitter online community? Have we forgotten the basics of public relations?

Arik Hanson, a communications professional at a health care system in Minnesota, brought up an interesting discussion on PRsarahevens.com about not forgetting the basics of public relations in this evolving digital market. He reminds us to focus on three core competencies: professional skills, client skills and team-building skills. These are skills that we have all been working to develop and hone throughout our public relations classes. And these skills apply to all aspects of public relations – agency work, corporate communications, digital communications, etc.

In the end, if we are going to demonstrate ourselves as public relations professionals, we have to employ the necessary skills to devise successful campaigns that will advance our organizations.

Social media can be a successful communication tool, but without these core public relations skills, what makes our blogs any better than my grandma’s?

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